What is the biggest problem you or your clients face in disaster planning and why?

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Our Florida clients proved the potentially devastating tendency of smaller companies to depend on untrained staff for maintenance and back-ups. One client depended on a sales person with a "knack for computers" to perform system maintenance and back-up. Ignoring our recommendations, they chose to backup their accounting system to the same hard drive that their live accounting data resided on. When the hard drive was damaged, their most recent back-up was several months old. Lillian Aaron

Business Accounting Software

Austin, Texas

Partner Insights

The biggest problem is the "head-in-the-sand" mentality. Disaster recovery is such a critical area within any organization but the mentality that "It will never happen to us" is prevalent. As a solution provider to big and small, we have been speaking on this topic for years and still believe this to be a cornerstone to any IT infrastructure.

Tod Replogle

Business Computer Technologies

Normal, Ill.

Most businesses have done a good job of disaster planning for the data stored on computers, at least in the area of backing up for recovery of data. I think the next step, especially in light of the recent natural disasters in this country, is to move to a document management system where all significant documents are in digital form and can be backed up and restored in the case of a disaster. The area that we see still neglected is any formal planning for a site relocation, which many companies were faced with in New Orleans.

Terry J. Kimes, CPA, CITP

Mize, Houser & Co.

Topeka, Kan.

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Apathy. They don't get very excited until it happens to them; ditto for the employees. Unless they are monitored, they stop performing procedures designed to prevent disasters like back-ups, and antivirus scans.

Norm Champ

Champ Systems

Sacramento, Calif.

After going through two hurricanes recently, it became apparent that we had not factored in one critical component, electricity-more specifically, the lack of electricity. Our back-ups and redundant systems were pretty much useless without any power or telephone service.

George Doris

NextLevel Information

Solutions, Miami

Plans are not in writing, and if they were written down at one time, they are not maintained. Disaster Recovery Plans have to be tested thoroughly on a regular basis. What do you do if the servers are up and running and your people have no place to work? Or do not show up for work! Most of my clients have never considered what their critical tasks are; what has to be done for their business to survive? Will businesses really be able to fully restore their servers, and if so how long will it take?

Robert H. Spencer, PhD

Twenty Seconds in the Future

Gulf Breeze, Fla.

The it-hasn't-happened-to-me-so-why-should-I-think-about-it syndrome.

Stephen Sykes

Sykes CPA

Portland, Ore.

Lack of executive buy-in/support. Many IT departments write disaster recovery plans without active participation and buy-in from the business executives. Many key aspects of DRP should involve the business side. Some common management concerns about DRP plans include 1) "You have not cost justified the plan." 2) "Our insurance will cover an outage, so why do we need a plan?" 3) "The purpose of the plan is to satisfy auditors"

Raj Patel

Plante & Moran

Southfield, Mich.

The biggest problem I run into is the "it will never happen to me" mentality. In an attempt to help our clients with this, we discuss with them what we have done which includes the following: Our servers are physically located in a different city than our offices. Nightly backups are taken and stored off site at yet another city location, separate from our offices and server location. At least once a month, we attempt to make a restore of our databases to validate that we can restore them.

Hugh M. Riddle Jr.

Triangle Partners

Glendora, Calif.

Getting it done and considering all of the potential issues.

Morris Saks

Gorfine, Schiller & Gardyn

Owings Mills, Md.

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